Thomas H. Singer
1934 - 2017
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Thomas H. Singer

Apr. 24, 1934 - March 4, 2017

SOUTH BEND - Tom was born on April 24, 1934 in Rochester, New York to George O. and Esther T. Singer. Esther was the former County Extension Agent for St. Joseph County, Indiana. Both parents predeceased him as did his brother, George.

On January 12, 2001, he married the bright star of his life, Carmen M. Piasecki, who survives. Also surviving are his caring daughters, Jennifer Singer (John Dolezal) of Goshen, Rebecca Singer (John Fonash) of Granger and Kate Singer (Joel Williams) of Elkhart. Grandchildren are Justin (Sasha), Allison, Anna, and Laura Dolezal, Anton Goddard-Fonash and Isla and Esther Williams. Also surviving are sister-in-law VelRae Singer of South Port, North Carolina; sister-in-law Nancy Hanlon (Tom) of Fort Wayne, Indiana; and brother-in law Mark Piasecki (Pat) of South Bend, Indiana. Further survivors include nephew Mark Singer (Susan) of Crescent, Pen nsylvania; Michael Singer (Marsha) of Oceanside, California; nieces Michelle Singer, Elizabeth Sands (Clayton), Jennifer Hanlon Walnoha (Wade), Patti Toering (Adam) and nephews Sam Singer, Eric Singer, Sean Singer and Jon Hanlon (Susie).

Tom was a 1952 graduate of South Bend Central High School. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, where he played varsity basketball and sang in the men's glee club. He received his law degree from Michigan in 1959.

He began his legal career with the South Bend law firm of Crumpacker, May, Beamer, Levy and Searer. Later, he formed a partnership with Alexander Lysohir. He finished his career as Of Counsel to the firm of Nickle & Piasecki of South Bend. He retired in 2012.

Tom was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School where he taught trial advocacy for over 40 years. He was a 30 year member of the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), Boulder, Colorado, where he was an Hon. Jim R. Carrigan Fellow for Distinguished Service to NITA and the recipient of the NITA National Teacher of the Year award. He also taught at the Advocacy Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tom was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers; and a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He was listed in the Best Lawyers in America for 25 years. Law and Politics/Indianapolis Monthly named him one of the 50 Indiana Super Lawyers for 2004-2006. In 2011, the Senior Lawyers Section of the Indiana State Bar Association named Tom one of eleven “legendary lawyers and judges” whose oral history would be included in the “Significant Attorneys” history project. This history is now housed in the Indiana Historical Society.

Tom served for nine years on both the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications, and was a member of the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Evidence. He was on the board of the American Judicature Society. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Program of Northern Indiana, Inc. He was past president of the St. Joseph County Bar Association. He was also a member of the Board and a Fellow of the College of Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.

In 1962, Tom was a founder and president of the Citizen's Fair Housing Committee of South Bend-Mishawaka. He also served as the chairman of Mayor Frank Bruggner's Bi-racial Committee in 1963 and was chairman of Mayor Lloyd Allen's Human Relations Commission, 1964-65. He was president of the St. Joseph County Association for Mental Health from 1964-66. He served on the Board of Directors of Hering House, Inc. from 1967-97. The South Bend Junior Chamber of Commerce named him outstanding young man of the year in 1965. He was recipient of the American Negro Emancipation Centennial Authority Citation of Honor, and he received the State Mental Health award. Tom was active in the Urban League and received its award for meritorious community service in 1963. He was the youth group advisor at the First Unitarian Church of South Bend for eight years.

Beginning in 1971, Tom and his daughters won the first five annual father-daughter canoe races from South Bend to Niles, sponsored by Michiana Watershed. In year six they came in second and in year seven they came in third. Younger voices suggested he stay in his library and listen to Mozart.

Tom held life memberships in the American Humanist Association, the NAACP, the ACLU, the Sierra Club and National Organization of Women.

Tom gave his body to the Anatomical Education Program at the Indiana University Medical Center.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air.

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself-

Yea, all which it inherit - shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a [cloud] behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in South Bend Tribune from Mar. 8 to Mar. 12, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
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30 entries
July 5, 2018
To the Thomas Singer family, especially to Jenny and Becky, whose wry wit and kindness I remember from the days of our youth. blessed be all of you and yours, now and always. Mr. Singer's smile in the photo here reminds me of Jenny's from those bygone days. May he continue to dwell in the hearts of his family and friends.
John Rodes
April 3, 2017
Professor Singer inspired my career as a litigator and counselor. Bright, witty and caring for all his students. God bless!

Jim Donathen
'78 Law
Jim Donathen
March 23, 2017
Carmen and Family,
Our deepest sympathy and prayers for you and your families. Tom and I (Jo) worked together in the late 70's and thru the mid 80's)his humor somewhat propelling! We kindly lend you our hearts and love as you move thru this path in life. Sonas Ort.

Bob and Jo Mysliwiec
Mr. and Mrs Robert Mysliwiec
March 23, 2017
Becky has been one of my best friends since 5th grade and we still see each other when I come into town. Growing up Mr. Singer was both a man's man; handsome, athletic with a booming voice and also a kind man with a tender side to all of us. Becky and all the girls loved him dearly and he knew that.
Professionally, he and my dad, Tom Broden worked on many causes together to help the urban poor. My mom and dad were deeply saddened by his death. Love to all those who miss him, especially my wonderful friend Becky and her sisters Jenny and Kate.
Jane Broden
March 15, 2017
Dearest Carmen and Family,

Tim and I are profoundly sad to learn we have lost Tom! We are grateful for the wonderful times we shared with you both in South Bend, New Mexico and North Carolina. Of course, as Notre Dame lawyers, we admired his professional accomplishments, but it was his wit, his laughter and his passionate love for you and your life together that gave us great joy!

We hope that when the time seems right you will come back to New Mexico and we will toast Tom together. Our hearts ache for you and your family, and we hope that time will heal your sorrow.

Love, Candi Lichtenfels and Tim Hartzer
Candi and Tim Hartzer
March 14, 2017
1952 Central High School South Bend
Mike Singer
March 14, 2017
1952 Central High School South Bend
Mike Singer
March 14, 2017
August 2016 Oakisland NA Tom and Becky
March 14, 2017
August 2016 Oak Island NC - Cousins
March 14, 2017
August 2016 Oak Island NC -Cousins
March 14, 2017
Visit to Pittsburgh - Tom and his brother George's kids
Mike Singer
March 14, 2017
A wonderful Uncle that I enjoyed being around. Loved your visits to San Diego with Carmen and the nights of stories and wine drinking! You will be missed. Love to you and the family. Mike, Marsha, Michele and Sam Singer
March 14, 2017

Sorry to recently hear about the passing of Tom. God truly blessed both of you with the many years you enjoyed together. My prayers are with you and family during this difficult time.

Take care, Pat
Pat Ruszkowski
March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017
March 10, 2017
I knew Tom through my work with the Trial Advocacy program at the ND Law School, where he was both loved and respected. Our paths often crossed years later when my mother and his mother-in-law resided in the same elder care community. He always took the time to stop and talk and treated me like a friend. I will always remember his strong, wonderful voice and his "presence". He will be missed! My prayers go out to his wife and family. Rest in God's heavenly peace, Tom!
Debbie Blasko
March 10, 2017
Dear Carmen, Kate, and everyone in the Singer family,

Although lawyers use words for many tasks, at times like this words bend and break under pressure.

I am so sorry to learn of Tom's passing. I never had the chance to know him well, but the times I talked with him or worked on an Inn of Court project together always made me look forward to the next time.

I don't recall where I heard the idea, but we can take a bit of solace in the fact that although the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, we all were lucky enough to have been on it at the same time as Tom and to have crossed paths with him. Our lives and our community are better because of that good fortune.

Bill Wilson
William Wilson
March 9, 2017
Prayers to Tom and his family
March 9, 2017
Carmen, Kate and all the family and close friends, I am shocked, saddened, grief stricken to learn of Tom's passing. I have known Tom since 1972. We were co-counsel on several criminal case and opponents on several civil cases; Tom appeared before me after I became a judge and we taught together for about 12 years at N.D. Law School joined by his daughter Kate. A excellent lawyer and a unique, friendly, kind and good human being. I grieve for his Wife, his daughters and the rest of his family and close friends for having lost an extraordinary man and wonderful husband, father, family member and friend.
Michael Scopelitis
March 9, 2017
Carmen and Kate,

Tom was a wonderful man who will be missed by all. You are forever in our thoughts,

Judy Fox
March 9, 2017
Dear Carmen and Family,
May Toms' spirited ,kind demeanor comfort you in all the days of. Your life. Tom was a grounded Giant of a Man.
Bunky. Allin
Robin" Bunky" Allin
March 9, 2017
Carmen: As you well know, Tom's legacy will continue to live on in the legal community through all the lawyers he trained, both formally and informally. He was one of the very best.

Our prayers are with you,
Bob Palmer
March 9, 2017
Dear Carmen & Tom's many family & friends,

My deepest sympathy. Tom was always such an upbeat and kind person. I had the opportunity to get to know Tom when he & Al Lysohir had their law office in the old First Bank Building, with my office located right across the hall. He & Al always cheered me on before a trial, and always offered great legal perspectives.

May the countless memories of times past comfort you in the years ahead.


Kathleen Cekanski Farrand
March 9, 2017
March 8, 2017
I knew Tom from NITA teaching. He was a giant of a teacher, a tremendous lawyer, and a great man. Tom was generous with his time and wisdom, always inquisitive, and he helped so many young lawyers improve their skills. I can still hear his stentorian tones as he gently admonished a student at NITA, "Those words do no work for you." He made words work, he made me better as a teacher and a lawyer--my life is so much better having known Tom.
Bill Elward
March 8, 2017
So sorry to hear of your father's death. I always thought so highly of had a great dad.
Barbara Saunders Brownell
March 8, 2017
Dear Carmen and family,
Tom was a truly gifted trial lawyer and we were blessed to have him as a teacher in Trial Advocacy and coach of the barrister team at Notre Dame Law School. I will never forget his laugh and the twinkle in his eye when he found something amusing. I know you will all miss him tremendously. Keeping you all in my prayers.
Kathy Brickley
March 8, 2017
Hi Carmen,

My name is Monica (Costello) Dilenschneider, I grew up on Wakewa Ave., two houses away from Jenny and Becky. We all spent many an hour painting in the Singer's kitchen on dry cleaner shirt card boards, playing in the yard and play acting.

I am very sorry for your loss. I remember Mr Singer to be the nicest man and a loving father.

Please relay all my sympathies to Jenny and Becky.
March 8, 2017
I had the pleasure of trying a case against Tom several years ago. He was a formidable opponent and certainly a great lawyer. He will be missed.
James Hough
March 8, 2017
Dear Carmen:

I am so sorry for your loss. Tom and you are in my prayers.
John Fineran
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